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Circus Mania Paperback – 17 Apr 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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  • Beneath the Big Top: A Social History of the Circus in Britain
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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd (17 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720613523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720613520
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 485,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A passionate, up to date look at the circus and its people --Gerry Cottle

"Circus Mania is a brilliant account of a vanishing art form." --Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

Like a good old fashioned circus McPherson s favourite kind, in the end the book rollicks along at a cracking pace, delivering a cast of colourful characters, and a parade of stories of the life-is-stranger-than-fiction variety. There are thrills and spills, acts of derring-do, heart-in-mouth moments, and laughs aplenty. The circus deserves this book and, like the circus, McPherson deserves for Circus Mania to reach a very wide and appreciative audience. --Tina Jackson, Writer's Hub

Full of stories and anecdotes that give readers a good sense of the thrills and dangers associated with the big top --David Pitt, Booklist

A real page-turner of a book. . . a strangely beguiling examination of a form of entertainment like no other --Eastern Daily Press

This lively, fact-filled, well-researched guide to circus history, tradition and culture pulls back the curtains and takes readers inside the teeming world of trapeze daredevils, clowns, animal handlers and other performers with centuries of circus blood coursing in their veins. --Neil Pond, American Profile

'Ingenious. . . engaging. . . a powerful introduction to circus performance then and now' --The Call Boy - journal of the British Music Hall Society

From the travelling big top, through big name productions, theatrical circus, youth projects, circus education and resident shows right through to the weird and wonderful world of contemporary circus and freak shows, new book Circus Mania covers all the bases. --Helen Whitcher, This Is Cabaret

About the Author

Douglas McPherson is a journalist specializing in entertainment, writing regularly for the "Daily Telegraph," the" Stage," and "My Weekly."


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable book. Unlike many others on the subject it is up to date and the author gives a real flavour of each of the circuses he discusses. The timeline at the back of the book is very interesting but a glossary of terms and/or circus acts might have been even better. Still a great read though.
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Format: Paperback
Circus Mania” is a much needed dispassionately written book on the British circus scene. In order for this institution to survive, thrive and regain mainstream respectability in the media it needs journalistic appraisal, insight and critique. The author, theatrical journalist Douglas McPherson, explains in his introduction that he had only a “fragmentary” memory of his time watching the circus as a child. After that he had no connection with the circus whatsoever, admitting to the common middle-class prejudice of believing that circuses were bygone vestiges of animal abuse. Therefore, when “The Stage” newspaper asked him to review The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus’s 100th anniversary show, he came to the current British circus scene with fresh eyes. It was here where he met and interviewed the lovely Eva Garcia who would fall to her death at the very beginning of her cloud swing act just one day after his review was published. His experience at the show and meeting those who worked there inspired him to further investigate the British circus scene. McPherson had noticed that beside the behemoth institution that is Cirque du Soleil, it was rare for the performing arts world to take any notice of this very British showbusiness institution outside of the negative publicity targeted at animal circuses by their protesters.

McPherson’s book combines historical research on circus with interviews with circus owners and artists as well as his own reviews of their shows.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great interviews underpin the analysis, I was particularly gripped by the accounts of current and ex people of the traditional circus with wild animals. A type of show now almost universally unloved in Britain. Hardly any exist now. The main wild animal show featured in the book has since changed name and removed the wild animals. A good move since that is likely to be law by 2015. A few, like Zippos, continue with horses only but are sometimes met by animal rights activists bearing leaflets showing elephants and tigers.
The elephant not in the room, - why a tent in a field and sawdust ring if there are no animals? Circus will develop differently. The trend is more theatrical, better lighting, music and production. But the skills remain much the same.
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Well-researched, well-written exploration of present-day circus in Britain. McPherson uses his journalistic skills to good effect in presenting both sides of the pro- and anti-animals in circus argument. As a circus performer I appreciate the sensitivity he brings to this work and the understanding and respect he develops for performers, circus owners and, most importantly, the animals.
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Format: Paperback
This book has opened my eyes to the world of circus. I've learned all about the history and the lives of circus people. The love of circus and the amount of research the author has put into this book shines from the pages. And for those who automatically link circus animals and cruelty there is an explanation of how loved these animals are and how different official bodies have never found any evidence of animals being mis-treated. Douglas has not written a one-sided book. He has carefully and thoroughly given all sides to every argument. Circus Mania is one of those rare non-fiction books that you end up reading as if it is a novel. It has great characters and plots and beautifully written descriptions.
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